The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest For… Test | Final Test - Hard

Brian Greene
This set of Lesson Plans consists of approximately 185 pages of tests, essay questions, lessons, and other teaching materials.
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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. What is supergravity?

2. What prevents the potentially dangerous effects of an exposed tear in space-time?

3. By what factor is the minimum mass of a wrapped string in determined?

4. The extra dimension or dimensions in M-theory are needed in order to incorporate _____.

5. Which one of the following do physicists believe occurs at the central point of a black hole?

Short Essay Questions

1. What is the horizon problem in cosmology? How was it resolved?

2. What is the relationship between the elementary particles and the Calabi-Yau space?

3. What is the Calabi-Yau space?

4. How are strings affected by extra dimensions?

5. What is a virtual string pair, and how is it formed?

6. What is the strong-weak duality?

7. Describe the entire process of a conifold transition.

8. Describe the difficulties in studying the entropy of a black hole.

9. Describe the phenomenon of winding in string theory.

10. What is the major difference between the big bang with and without string theory?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1


One of the most infamous characteristics of quantum mechanics is Heisenberg's uncertainty principle. It affects nearly all events in the field of quantum mechanics, and has deep implications for our understanding of the universe.

Part 1) What is the uncertainty principle and how was it discovered. Explain the operation of this principle and provide at least two examples of its workings.

Part 2) The uncertainty principle predicts a range of probabilities for the location of a particle. This range is sometimes called the particle's waveform. This waveform is said to "collapse" when the particle is observed. Describe in as much detail as possible the nature of the waveform, and our understanding of how this collapse occurs.

Part 3) Describe how the uncertainty principle affects quantum mechanics, and provide examples of how it has affected other fields of physics and the sciences.

Part 4) There is much speculation about what the uncertainty principle means. Do particles "choose" where to be when observed? Is there some sort of unseen randomizing force or agent? Do we ourselves choose where the particle will be? In this final section of the essay, speculate as to what the wider implications of the uncertainty principle might be. Provide at least one well-reasoned speculation, using scientific information from the book and other sources, if necessary.

Essay Topic 2

The Quantum

The quantum is the smallest possible unit of energy that can be manifested for a particular fundamental force. The realization that energy came in discrete "packets" revolutionized physics and created the field of quantum mechanics. This essay is about the discovery of the quanta.

Part 1) Research and fully describe the nature of the problem of the "oven" that contains infinite energy. What were some early attempts at a solution?

Part 2) Describe Max Planck's solution to the problem in detail. How did his final approach resolve the infinite sums into finite ones? What is the relationship between the properties of the electromagnetic wave and its energy?

Part 3) Planck proposed that energy could only exist in multiples of certain minimum amounts. Describe how he came to this conclusion, and what impact this conclusion had on other fields of science.

Essay Topic 3

The Most Famous Equation

Einstein's famous equation, E=mc^2 was not actually published in his original papers on relativity. It was a minor note in a clarification written later, but its importance was instantly recognized. Today, it is the most famous and recognizable equation in the world, and is used almost as a garnish to any depiction of scientific work. This essay is about the discovery and applications of this famous equation.

Part 1) What does the equation mean? What does each component represent, and what is the underlying principle that the equation embodies?

Part 2) How was this equation discovered? Explain in detail how it is related to general relativity and how it indicates that no object with mass can move at exactly the speed of light.

Part 3) Explain some of the implications of this equation. How can its effects be observed in everyday life? How would our world be different if we were ignorant of this equation?

(see the answer keys)

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